David Zalubowski/Related Press
The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Dallas Stars 5-2 in Sport Three of the Stanley Cup Closing on Wednesday to take a 2-1 lead within the best-of-seven sequence.
Lightning heart Steven Stamkos, who had not performed since Feb. 25 on account of harm, scored a objective regardless of taking the ice for simply 2:47.
Tampa Bay led 2-1 after one interval earlier than scoring three unanswered second-period objectives.
The Lightning have received two straight after beating Dallas 3-2 in Sport 2. The Stars earned a 4-1 win in Sport 1.
Lightning RW Nikita Kucherov: 1 objective, 1 help
Lightning C Brayden Level: 1 objective, 1 help
Lightning LW Ondrej Palat: 1 objective, 1 help
Lightning C Steven Stamkos: 1 objective
Lightning G Andrei Vasilevskiy: 22 saves on 24 photographs
Stars D Miro Heiskanen: 1 objective
Stars C Jason Dickinson: 1 objective
Stars G Anton Khudobin: 24 saves on 29 photographs
Stamkos Shines in Temporary Return
The document exhibits that Steven Stamkos performed simply 2:47 on Wednesday, however he made an amazing influence on the ice due to his short-handed objective to place his staff up 2-Zero and provides Tampa Bay agency management of Sport 3.
Stamkos had surgical procedure on March 2 to restore a core muscle and has suffered a number of setbacks since with lower-body accidents. He can be thrown into the fireplace practically seven months later within the Stanley Cup with the Lightning tied at one sport apiece with the pesky Stars, who arrived into this sequence as underdogs however had drawn even with Tampa to this point.
Stress and rust clearly weren’t elements for Stamkos on Wednesday, nevertheless, as he calmly scored Tampa’s second objective at 6:58 of the primary interval:
ESPN’s Emily Kaplan supplied one of the best context into the state of affairs:
Emily Kaplan @emilymkaplan
To recap: Steven Stamkos hasn’t performed all summer season.
He attracts within the lineup at the moment, first sport in 211 days. Scores on his first shot. Performs ~Three minutes, rides the bench complete 2nd interval, who is aware of if we’ll see him once more.
No matter occurs, that is taking place in Stanley Cup lore.
Stamkos, who’s the writer of 422 objectives and 410 assists throughout his 12-year regular-season profession with the Lightning, had been dominant but once more in 2019-20. He amassed 29 objectives and 37 assists in simply 57 video games en path to serving to Tampa Bay develop into the NHL‘s top-scoring staff.
Nonetheless, the Lightning had been pressured to traverse all through all the postseason with out Stamkos because of the harm.
They nonetheless crushed the Jap Convention competitors en path to five-game sequence wins over the Columbus Blue Jackets and Boston Bruins and a six-gamer over the New York Islanders, however the Stars and scorching-hot goalie Anton Khobulin proved to be one other story. Dallas dominated Sport 1, 4-1 and practically received Sport 2, shedding 3-2 after falling behind 3-0.
Enter Stamkos, who made the lineup on Wednesday and supplied the Lightning with the increase they wanted.
After the sport, he referred to as the expertise a “dream come true,” per Chris Johnston of Hockey Night time in Canada.
It was a dream come true for the Lightning and their followers as properly.
Whereas Stamkos clearly could not give the Lightning a full effort based mostly on his ice time, it did not matter as his objective may find yourself being the one which turns the tide in Tampa Bay’s favor for good because the staff appears for its second Stanley Cup in franchise historical past.
One other 3-Purpose Single-Interval Deluge Sinks Stars
The Stars fell in Sport 2 after permitting three objectives in a 3:53 first-period span. Dallas battled again and obtained inside 3-2, however couldn’t discover the equalizer en path to Tampa Bay tying the sequence at one.
On Wednesday, the Stars allowed three objectives within the second interval. This time round, the Stars did not have sufficient offensive firepower or time to battle again.
The ever-dangerous Victor Hedman obtained issues going within the second by scoring his first of the Stanley Cup Closing (however 10th within the playoffs) inside one minute of puck drop:
Brayden Level then obtained on the board after making the most of an odd-man rush, firing this shot previous Khudobin off a feed from Kucherov:
Then Ondrej Palat was in the fitting place on the proper time, placing residence a unfastened puck for the Lightning’s fifth objective:
The Stars obtained one again halfway via the third, however by then, it was too little and too late for Dallas to mount a lot of a comeback.
Dallas was in the end outplayed on this one, giving the puck away 21 instances to Tampa’s 14 and amassing 24 photographs to Tampa’s 32. However the Stars have nonetheless largely hung with the Lightning for giant parts of the Stanley Cup’s opening three video games.
The secret’s stopping the Lightning offense from sustaining momentum and occurring a single-period scoring surge. If the Stars can handle to higher clamp down on protection and hold giveaways to a minimal, then they might simply dangle on this sequence.
Sport Four will happen Friday at eight p.m. ET at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.